Optimization of the ligature-induced periodontitis model in mice

J Immunol Methods. 2013 Aug 30;394(1-2):49-54. doi: 10.1016/j.jim.2013.05.002. Epub 2013 May 12.


Periodontitis is a prevalent oral inflammatory disease that leads to alveolar bone loss and may exert an adverse impact on systemic health. Experimental animal models are critical tools to investigate mechanisms of periodontal pathogenesis and test new therapeutic approaches. The ligature-induced periodontitis model has been used frequently in relatively large animals, including non-human primates, to assess the host response and its effects on the tooth-supporting tissues (gingiva and bone) under well-controlled conditions. Although mice constitute the most convenient and versatile model for mechanistic immunological research (plethora of genetically engineered strains and immunological reagents), the tiny size of the murine oral cavity has presented technical challenges for ligature placement. In this report, we present a straightforward method for ligating the second maxillary molar tooth, and, moreover, identified the most appropriate sites for evaluating inflammatory bone loss in a valid and reproducible manner. These optimizations are expected to facilitate the use of the mouse ligature-induced periodontitis model and consequently contribute to better understanding of the immunopathological mechanisms of periodontitis.

Keywords: Bone loss; Inflammation; Ligature; Mouse model; Oral infection; Periodontitis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Alveolar Bone Loss / pathology
  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ligation
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Periodontitis / etiology*
  • Periodontitis / pathology